Padres Editorial: 3 Questions the Padres Must Address in March

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Sep 20, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Brandon Morrow (23) pitches during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Toronto Blue Jays won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

2. Who will get the nod at #5 in the starting rotation?

We all know that 1-4 is set with James Shields, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy (in no particular order, but then again, it could be). There are several candidates to get the rock on the 5th day. Odrisamer Despaigne, Robbie Erlin and Brandon Morrow all have thrown their hats in the ring, and with a solid spring, Matt Wisler could also be in the mix.

Despaigne has a lot under his belt and has proven he can hang with the big boys. In 16 starts last year, he posted a 3.36 ERA in 96 innings. Erlin would be nice because he would be the only lefty in the rotation. He too has decent MLB experience with 20 starts for the Friars. He has a little higher of an ERA at 4.58. Morrow is the veteran among the candidates with 8 seasons and 108 starts so far. He is well-tested pitching in the AL East these past 5 years. He has struggled lately but if he can return to his 2012 form (10-7, 2.96 ERA, 178 K’s), he could very well earn this spot.

Wisler went 9-5 for Triple-A El Paso last season in 22 starts. His 5.01 ERA was a concern but again, with a solid spring, that could be forgivable. The jury is still out on who will get it. A team that intends to make a postseason push needs to have a deep rotation, starters 1 through 5 need to be solid. The ideal situation is that someone performs so well in spring that Bud Black will have no choice but to stick them in the rotation. These next few weeks will say a lot.